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The Library   By: (1754-1832)

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Transcribed by Mark Sherwood, e mail



Books afford Consolation to the troubled Mind by substituting a lighter kind of Distress for its own They are productive of other Advantages An Author's Hope of being known in distant times Arrangement of the Library Size and Form of the Volumes The ancient Folio, clasped and chained Fashion prevalent even in this Place The Mode of publishing in Numbers, Pamphlets &c. Subjects of the different Classes Divinity Controversy The Friends of Religion often more dangerous than her Foes Sceptical Authors Reason too much rejected by the former Converts; exclusively relied upon by the latter Philosophy ascending through the Scale of Being to Moral Subjects Books of Medicine: their Variety, Variance, and Proneness to System: the Evil of this, and the Difficulty it causes Farewell to this Study Law: the increasing Number of its Volumes Supposed happy State of Man without Laws Progress of Society Historians: their Subjects Dramatic Authors, Tragic and Comic Ancient Romances The Captive Heroine Happiness in the perusal of such Books: why Criticism Apprehensions of the Author: removed by the Appearance of the Genius of the Place; whose Reasoning and Admonition conclude the subject.

When the sad soul, by care and grief oppress'd, Looks round the world, but looks in vain for rest; When every object that appears in view Partakes her gloom and seems dejected too; Where shall affliction from itself retire? Where fade away and placidly expire? Alas! we fly to silent scenes in vain; Care blasts the honours of the flow'ry plain: Care veils in clouds the sun's meridian beam, Sighs through the grove, and murmurs in the stream; For when the soul is labouring in despair, In vain the body breathes a purer air: No storm tost sailor sighs for slumbering seas, He dreads the tempest, but invokes the breeze; On the smooth mirror of the deep resides Reflected woe, and o'er unruffled tides The ghost of every former danger glides. Thus, in the calms of life, we only see A steadier image of our misery; But lively gales and gently clouded skies Disperse the sad reflections as they rise; And busy thoughts and little cares avail To ease the mind, when rest and reason fail. When the dull thought, by no designs employ'd, Dwells on the past, or suffer'd or enjoy'd, We bleed anew in every former grief, And joys departed furnish no relief. Not Hope herself, with all her flattering art, Can cure this stubborn sickness of the heart: The soul disdains each comfort she prepares, And anxious searches for congenial cares; Those lenient cares, which with our own combined, By mix'd sensations ease th' afflicted mind, And steal our grief away, and leave their own behind; A lighter grief! which feeling hearts endure Without regret, nor e'en demand a cure. But what strange art, what magic can dispose The troubled mind to change its native woes? Or lead us willing from ourselves, to see Others more wretched, more undone than we? This BOOKS can do; nor this alone; they give New views to life, and teach us how to live; They soothe the grieved, the stubborn they chastise, Fools they admonish, and confirm the wise: Their aid they yield to all: they never shun The man of sorrow, nor the wretch undone: Unlike the hard, the selfish, and the proud, They fly not sullen from the suppliant crowd; Nor tell to various people various things, But show to subjects what they show to kings. Come, Child of Care! to make thy soul serene, Approach the treasures of this tranquil scene; Survey the dome, and, as the doors unfold, The soul's best cure, in all her cares, behold! Where mental wealth the poor in thought may find, And mental physic the diseased in mind; See here the balms that passion's wounds assuage; See coolers here, that damp the fire of rage; Here alt'ratives, by slow degrees control The chronic habits of the sickly soul; And round the heart and o'er the aching head, Mild opiates here their sober influence shed... Continue reading book >>

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